Saturday, February 25, 2006

Space Tomatoes

Originally posted on: December 17 10:12 AM

Okay well since I know everyone is going to wondering where the heck I got the name "Space Tomatoes" for my Blog, I will tell you.

When I was in sixth grade I was on the cusp of reaching my zenith of being a big nerd and I loved EVERYTHING that had to do with space. My sixth grade teacher knew this and contacted NASA about our class doing any projects with them.

NASA decided that we could help them with an experiment. We were given tomato seeds and a large instruction booklet. Since it is VERY costly for the Space Shuttle to lift items into orbit they have to cut weight wherever possible. And to cut the weight on the tomato seeds, we had to SHAVE them. Yes tomato seeds have very fine hair on them to assist in seed stabilization and orientation during their life as a seed. Well these hairs werent needed for our experiment - they had to go. We had about 60 seeds in total and shaved them all. I think we saved NASA, and thru them - the US economy, a whole 1/10th of a cent by removing the seed hair.

So once the seeds were shorn of their seed pubes and further prepared, they were packed and returned to NASA to be launched into space on the next Shuttle flight.

Our class was all excited and got out of doing work the day of the launched and watched it on TV in our class and were the stars of the sixth grade school newspaper (which is a big feat considering how active our sixth grade scholastic scrabble team was).

The seeds spent the next several months in space with a window seat to the Sun's rays with no protection except a thin sheet of lexan. They were thoroughly radiated by the Sun in ways that we cannot experience here on Earth thanks to our ozone layer and other natural defenses.

Once the experiment was over, another Shuttle brought the seeds back down to earth and the seeds were sent back to us to grow. And GROW they did. I was dizzy with the dreams of growing giant tomatoes in the small pots provided to us from NASA. Scenes for The Incredible Hulk TV show came thundering back to me in my nocturnal torpor.

Alas, the space tomatoes did not grow into anything of sci-fi legend or fame under our little watchful eyes, but somewhere deep inside I still believe that when I ate them I attained some sort of special powers simply waiting to be unlocked by the right combination of spandex body suit and crime-fighting battle cry.

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